From The Beginning
February 12, 2010
A would like to send out a loud musical glittery puffy heart THANK YOU card with a giant balloon drop to everyone who participated in Tuesday’s survey. Over 1,700 responses and climbing, wow ! It is so refreshing to hear what you have to say, especially about things I never even notice or think of. I’m still absorbing all of your constructive input, and I can’t express in words how truly grateful I am to all of you who took the time to respond.
First let me say that I still consider myself a complete amateur in this blog world and have incredible respect and admiration for those who are the real experts out there, who’ve been doing this for years and years. They are the experts, and I bow to their skills and professionalism. There are some bloggers out there that blow me away they are so awesome. They inspire me greatly. As for me, I’m still learning so much everyday, and I’m just incredibly thankful that anyone at all stops by to read and share with me.
There were a few questions that kept coming up, so I thought it a good time to address them in a post. And because it’s impossible for me to not have photos, please enjoy these pictures from the past that are completely irrelevant to what I’m writing. Okay, here goes.
A: When I first started this whole thing on February 15, 2009, I had absolutely no idea where it would go. I had stumbled across John and Sherry back in November of 2008 when I Googled how to do something, and This Young House, now Young House Love came up on my screen. I was so intrigued and so charmed but this sweet couple who shared the same passion as me: remodeling houses and DIY projects.
We had just survived our own huge remodel, and I simply couldn’t get enough of home improvement. It’s a subject I never get tired of. That led to a few other blogs and all of a sudden it was like a light shining down from the heavens. I was overwhelmed by all the creativity out there. My brain kept thinking, “There are others like me, who love paint and power tools !”
Then it occurred to me one day to start a little blog of my own. It felt very weird at first. I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. But I wasn’t deterred. I just wanted to talk about what I love like these other blogs were doing, so I signed up for a free Google account on Blogger. ‘Centsational Girl’ was my Ebay handle from years ago, so I went with that. It seemed to capture who I was.
Then I sent my playroom remodel to John and Sherry at Young House Love. They were enthusiastic, and decided to feature it in April of 2009. Then I just kept plowing away, writing about things that I love, like fixing up old chairs, dressers, and spaces. I tried my best to focus on quality projects and interesting posts with content rich tutorials.
I started getting featured here and there, for example by my friend Linda at Restyled Home, Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick, Rhoda at Southern Hospitality, Rachel at One Pretty Thing, and the SITS girls. THANK YOU LADIES !!! My followers slowly began to grow. For several unique and creative projects, I was featured on Apartment Therapy, and I even had a recent feature on Design Sponge. I always sign up for my buddy Kimba’s DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land, and she’s been kind enough to mention me a few times. All of this helped spread the word.
Q: How did you get so many followers in a year ?
A: I’ve never asked people to sign up as a follower as part of a giveaway, although plenty of blogs do and that is a very useful tool to increase your number of followers.
Getting followers was very slow in the beginning. For the first two hundred, I would write back and personally thank them for signing up. Then it started to grow faster and faster and I couldn’t keep up with writing a personal note to everyone, although I believe that’s a really considerate thing to do. I’ve noticed with every feature or mention on another blog, I tend to pick up more followers, but it really ebbs and flows.
In my opinion, the best way to get more followers is to a) be social, and leave comments on other blogs and invite them to visit you and b) make your posts interesting, funny, or informative so new readers are intrigued by what you’re all about and want to stick around.
It’s very tough. There is no down time. I’m on the go from sunup to sundown. With all the balls I’m juggling, it’s true that something’s got to give, but I’m pretty good at multitasking. My kids are in school in the morning, so that is when I respond to emails or shop for supplies. I do most of my projects in the afternoon when my children are home with me.
Lately, I’ve had to turn down legal cases because I just don’t have the time anymore. There’s a little money trickling in now with the blog, but hub’s job is the one that pays the bills, and I’m on a tight budget.
I drink a lot of coffee, I rarely watch TV, and I don’t sit down during the day. I write my blog posts at night after the kids go to bed. And I have a very supportive husband.
But there are many days I fall short. The laundry always piles up, and often I’m just so darn tired. Then I just don’t post anything the next day.
OMG Yes !!! I have a whole file of projects that I consider “failures” that started out as a great idea and in the execution turned out to be complete and total disasters.
Example: Remember my cement planters from last summer ? They were great. Then I thought it might be cool to make one in the shape of a gallon of milk and paint it white so I used a plastic gallon of milk for the form.
The handle kept falling apart, it weighed a ton and looked so dumb. Those pictures ended up on the cutting room floor, as have several other projects. But I like what Einstein said, “Any one who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
And you can thank me for now for sparing your eyes from the hideousness of my “failure” files.
Well I love love love white paint, don’t we all ? Just about everything looks good in it. And y’all know how much I adore ‘Heirloom White’ !!! But there is so much that can be done with stain, fabric, molding, trim, and incredible color.
I have little room left in my house for furniture, but I can’t stop the refurbishing, so I’m going to start selling some of my pieces in a local shop this year.
I will be using a lot of color and fresh design elements in these pieces and writing all about it. I hope you’ll follow along.
What do you think makes a blogger successful?
It all depends on how do you define success. Is it a certain number of followers ? Is it a certain number of sponsors or advertisers ? Is it a certain number of comments ? Page loads ? A dollar amount rolling in every month? If you’re blogging only for the money, I have no advice to offer because I didn’t get into this for the money. It’s nice to make a little money now, but I really do this for fun and because I love interacting with creative people.
To me, a successful blog is one where you never ever get tired of writing about what you love, whatever that is and regardless of the numbers. For me, it’s fixing up bedraggled objects and freshening spaces with simple decorating tricks. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to bed.
I heard a quote the other day and it sticks with me. “Don’t judge your insides by other’s outsides.” This is so very true. You’ll make yourself miserable trying to keep up or catch up or compare yourself with someone or some other blog you’ve decided is ‘more successful’ than you. If you’re not in this because you love what you write about, then you will surely burn out.
There are lessons to be learned from successful bloggers like Ree and Katie and Dusty. These are real, funny, talented gals who are unique personalities and who also stay true to themselves. It’s like Judy Garland said, “Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else”. Come what may.
Get excited for next week’s Blog Anniversary everyone cause I’m kicking it off with some incredible giveaways, thanks to supportive friends and fantastic sponsors !
Happy happy Friday and have a great Valentine’s Weekend !